5 PARENTING CLICHES FROM THE BIG SCREEN
Jeananne Craig points out the parenting tropes we're bored of seeing...
Child-rearing is riddled with clichés (‘happy mum, happy baby’, ‘they grow up so fast’, ‘it takes a village’, blah blah blah), and so - we’ve found - are many of the films depicting it.
From frantic dashes to the labour ward, to dads creating chaos when tasked with taking care of their own offspring, parenting movies can be depressingly paint-by-numbers.
And perhaps it’s no wonder. Many of us are so frazzled that by the time we sit down to Netflix and chill (in the literal sense; we’re tired, ok?) or make a rare trip to the cinema, something fairly unchallenging fits the bill. But we’re ready to move on from these sad stereotypes. Modern parenting is diverse and has plenty of scope for humour without resorting to the same old stories. It’s just a shame these films below didn’t get the memo...
As A Bad Moms Christmas hits cinemas (Worn-out mothers cutting loose? Check. Overbearing, critical gran? Check.), here are some of the other top big-screen parenting cliches.
1. The ‘babysitting’ dad mucking up – as seen in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.
A lot of movie dads seem incapable of being left in charge of their children for any length of time without hilaaaarious results – think houses being upturned and kids being temporarily mislaid.
2. The elaborate cooked breakfast – as seen in Three Men and a Little Lady
In most homes, weekday breakfast consists of a quick bowl of Weetabix or a slice of toast eaten on the go. No so in Hollywood, where no matter how under-pressure parents are to pack their brood off to school and get to work in time for that crucial presentation, they still attempt a hotel-standard spread of pancakes, eggs and freshly-squeezed OJ.
3. Realising you’re pregnant when you throw up during something important – as seen in Knocked Up
Pregnancy sickness can rear its head in the most awkward of settings – the Asda car park, the bus to work, a toddler-sized toilet cubicle at your child’s stay and play.
But in the movies, it’s often a more high-profile affair. Who needs a furtive hurl into a carrier bag when you can barf during a TV interview with James Franco (Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up), or puke into the trophy at a celebrity dance contest (Cameron Diaz in What To Expect When You’re Expecting)?
4. The dramatic labour – as seen in Baby Mama, and basically any film which includes a birth...
Only around one in ten women will experience their waters breaking before labour begins. On the big screen, the chances are much, much higher.
And while real-life labour can be a drawn-out affair, film births get wrapped up very quickly – but not before a high-speed rush to the hospital, a LOT of screaming (sample Baby Mama line: “It feels like I’m sh*tting a knife”), and the occasional fainting dad (oh hi, Hugh Grant in Nine Months).
5. The suspiciously large newborn – as seen in Bridget Jones’s Baby, Parenthood, and every other film that features a birth...
We’ve heard of the ‘showbiz age’ – celebs getting a bit creative with their date of birth to maintain a youthful persona.
Well, it seems film babies are no different. There aren’t many (or any) total newborns on the books of talent agencies, so casting directors often have to cast their net a little bit wider for labour scenes. There's not much to be done about this one, is there? So, go on Hollywood, we'll let you get away with this one...